These pictures tell the real story of what happened after the 1902 volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Ruins of the Waterloo Sugar Factory on the eastern slopes of the La Soufriere volcano (Tonyoldies)
Ruins of the Waterloo Sugar Factory on the eastern slopes of the La Soufriere volcano, near Orange Hill after the 1902 eruption. (Tonyoldies)
The vegetation in forested areas was leveled by the power of the 1902 eruption.
Photograph of bare, ash-laden slopes following the 1902 eruption of La Soufriere (Photo Credit: Tempest Anderson)
St. Vincent, May 1902: Hills stripped bare by the volcanic eruption (Photo Credit: Tempest Anderson)
A post-eruption team preparing to examine a plantation destroyed by the eruption in May 1902.
Photo taken on the eastern side of La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent. The forest cover was notably leveled by the eruption of 1902. (Photo Credit: Tempest Anderson)
Photo taken on the beach in Chateaubelair, St. Vincent following the 1902 volcanic eruption.
Broken windows and ash deposits in Georgetown following the 1902 eruption.
The remains of the Richmond Great House following the 1902 volcanic eruption.
Lot 14 is seen in ruins immediately following the May 7, 1902 eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent. (Photo Credit: Tempest Anderson)
Broken windows and ash-covered streets in Georgetown, St. Vincent, following the 1902 volcanic eruption.
Supplies being distributed to persons seeking refuge from the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in 1902, Georgetown, St Vincent.
This photograph is believed to have been taken in Chateaubelair on May 6, 1902 – one day prior to the devastating eruption of that year.
Photograph taken in the direction of Wallibou River, north of Richmond in 1902, following the eruption of La Soufriere.
Crossing the Wallibou river (north of Richmond), filled with the fresh deposits from the May 7, 1902 volcanic eruption.
A plantation obliterated by the 1902 volcanic eruption.
A large amount of volcanic material was deposited in watercourses in the north of the island. (La Soufriere: St. Vincent)
A sample of volcanic sand which fell on Rose Bank on the night of 3rd and morning of 4th Sept. 1902.
Local men observe volcanic deposits flowing through a watercourse in the north of the island following the May, 1902 eruption.
Upper Rabacca Valley, St. Vincent, May 1902
Photo of Rabacca Dry River, May 1902 (Photo Credit: Tempest Anderson)
These small boats were used to transport the various post-eruption teams from Chateaubelair to various points along the coast. This served as the easiest means of examining the burnt-out plantations of Wallibou and Richmond.
Over the years we have heard tales in bits and pieces about the May 7, 1902 eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent. But how much do we really know about what is likely to have been one of the greatest natural disasters in our country’s recorded history?
Well, as the old English idiom goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and I will be hoping to unearth the missing narratives of this haunting and compelling saga, one “picture” at a time – with your help of course.
Described as an “explosive eruption” – one of only 3 that had occurred on the island since 1718 – and potentially the most catastrophic of them all, the 1902 eruption is believed to have claimed 1565 lives.
The devastating imprint of this eruption is believed to have been the result of heavy ash-fall, and pyroclastic flows and surges. It was also strangely followed by an eruption that destroyed the town of St. Piere – and all but a handful of its inhabitants – on the island of Martinique the very next day, May 8, 1902.
Most of the photographs in this album are confirmed to have been taken by Tempest Anderson (1846-1913) – a British surgeon turned photographer and volcanologist.